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The Complete 1st Season

Crossing Lines - Season 1 (US) Review




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Rating
Video:   9/10
Audio:   8/10
Extras:   2/10

Cool Euro-Crime Show
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
1/28/2014

    Set in exciting and exotic locations, Crossing Lines taps into the charter of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to mandate a special crime unit to investigate serialized crimes that cross over borders, hunt down criminals and bring them to justice... a global FBI is born.

    Crossing Lines stars William Fichtner (Prison Break) as Carl Hickman, a wounded New York cop, pulled from the edge by a group of unlikely saviors, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games) as Michel Dorn, an inspector in the International Criminal Court, and Marc Lavoine (The Good Thief) as Louis Daniel, the head of an elite cross-border police unit charged with hunting down the world's most brutal criminals.
Crossing Lines is a very, very interesting series. This isn't a US show, but rather a France/Germany co-production, with a US creator/showrunner, and an international cast. It's also the first European show to appear on a regular US network (the others have all been on cable channels). The show follows a group of international police working for the International Criminal Court as they track crimes across borders in Europe. Sounds like a show I'll love.

This 3-disc set includes all 10 episodes from the first season:

Disc 1 (2:49:45)
Pilot - Part 1 (42:26)
Pilot - Part 2 (42:26)
The Terminator (42:25)
Long-Haul Predators (42:28)

Disc 2 (2:49:49)
Special Ops - Part 1 (42:26)
Special Ops - Part 2 (42:28)
The Animals (42:27)
Desperation and Desperados (42:28)

Disc 3 (1:24:55)
New Scars, Old Wounds - Part 1 (42:27)
New Scars, Old Wounds - Part 2 (42:28)

Video

The show looks quite stunning on Blu-ray, with a 1080p picture (1.78:1, of course). The show isn't bright and cheery, but it's not dark and dreary, either. Black levels are good, providing lots of detail in dark scenes, without a lot of noise. There's a chapter set after the opening credits of the episode, but not after any of the "previously on" segments. You can also resume an episode if you stop it part-way through and turn off your player; the disc remembers where you were.

Audio

I'll admit to being slightly disappointed with the English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. The rear speakers were hardly used, so nearly all of the sound was coming from the center speaker, and the two main speakers. While I often notice some good use of rear speakers for ambient sounds, and a few sound effects, in other shows, I didn't notice that at all with Crossing Lines. There are subtitles in English and Spanish.

Extras - How we rate extras

Behind the Lines (10:09)
The cast, along with Edward Allen Bernero (executive producer), (executive producer), Charles S. Carroll (producer), Moritz Polter (producer), talk about what makes Crossing Lines unique.

Trailers (4:46)
Trailers for other Lionsgate titles.

Summary

Okay, this show was really, really cool. It felt like a US series, with the pacing and the style of the show, but it had interesting locations, and a fresh cast (with, *gasp* accents). My one complaint would be that they used English too much in the show. I would have loved to hear the native languages of the countries when two characters are speaking together, and English used when people of different languages speak. Two Italian police officers wouldn't speak English to each other, they'd speak Italian.

Despite being about a fictional group operating in the ICC, I felt the show brought a fresh look to the police procedural. It was nice to see European cities appearing on TV, even if they were substituting Prague and France for a number of other places. The characters were interesting, and I enjoyed the international flavor of the cast; actors on the show come from Canada (Donald Sutherland), United States (William Fichtner), France (Marc Lavoine, Elsa Mollien), Ireland (Richard Flood, Genevieve O'Reilly), Germany (Tom Wlaschiha), Italy (Gabriella Pession, born in the US, but moved to Italy when she was 6), and elsewhere (I wasn't able to determine where Moon Dailly was born, but she has American/French parents). It's certainly uncommon to hear that many accents on a show.

While the show is great, the Blu-ray is ho-hum in terms of bonus material, but it's hard to fault Lionsgate for that. This isn't a show they produce, and it's likely hard for them to round people up and shoot material for the release given the international shoot, and their filming schedule (I don't think season 2 is shooting right now - it won't air until the 4th quarter of this year). The "Behind the Lines" piece was fine, but this should be viewed as a set where you're buying it for the episodes, and nothing more.

Hopefully we see the second season on NBC, but whether they pick it up or not, season 2 is happening (12 episodes). I should also note that this is a US-only release, and isn't available in Canada (I'm assuming Lionsgate only has US rights).

A couple of non-review related things; that fancy 3D crime scene scanner used in the show isn't entirely fiction; the Roswell, NM police department just bought a scanner to capture crime scenes. The scanner is much slower than the one used on the show, but the results look better than the fictional counterpart. Also, if you're interested in learning more about the Crossing Lines co-production and the business behind it, there's a great discussion from MIPTV 2013 that's been uploaded to YouTube.


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